As the weather gets warmer and the days longer, minds start to wander. Wander to the outdoors, the sunshine and blooming trees beckoning us to come outside and play. After a winter filled with dreary, snow filled days, there is nothing quite like those first few days of spring, where you just know that spring is finally here to stay. There is no better time to grab your bike and head out for ride, or even an adventure. And there is no place better than your own backyard.
The C&O Canal is a gateway to adventure. Starting in Georgetown and running up to Cumberland and beyond, it is a great place to try out touring or go for an 3-5 day tour. You can even get onto some decent singletrack for those looking for something a little more challenging. And you can easily ride to the start from home. I decided to do just that, taking my Krampus, loaded up with gear, and connected to my newly handbuilt dynamo wheel out for a sub 24 hour adventure that ended up being a little more adventurous than I'd planned.
I didn't leave my house until 5 pm, prime time for warmth and sunshine. An easy roll out onto the canal, turned into an impromptu photo shoot, and before I knew it, the sun was down. A few more miles of riding, lit up easily by my dynamo saw me get to Pennylock, and the start of the Muddy Branch Trail, which winds it's way up through Potomac and forms a portion of the MoCo Epic mountain bike route.
I continued riding, on and on through the night. What is normally a fairly mundane trail took on a new aura in the dark. It basically travels through people's backyards, and I could see as more and more people turned off the lights for the night, as I was just getting started. I was tired, but excited. Although I'd done this trail and ride before, the fact that it was at night, on a school night, made it seem different. It felt epic. I ended up riding until 2 in the morning and sleeping directly on the ground at mile 26 of the C&O. I had to work the next day, so got up only 3 hours later to ride back into town, drafting and passing commuters on my 80 pound steel bike with 3" tires. I covered almost 100 miles in about 17 hours and was exhausted for 2 days. But it was worth it. I'd made a decision to get outside and experience something close to home in a whole new light (or lack thereof), and it was worth it. It was so worth it.
Thanks everyone for joining us for Bike Trekking night at the shop. We hope you are inspired to start planning some adventures of your own (or to plan less and do more). For those wondering about Big Ron's next adventure, check out his post on his latest challenge, 3 epic single speed rides over 3 weekends. First up this weekend, is the entirety of the Massanutten Trail, a 72 mile feast of rocks and mountains, in one day. Inspired by a friend who left too soon, BR's rides will benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness. If you would like to donate, you can do so here.